Plaid Cymru will today (Monday 30 January) urge the UK Government to adopt amendments to the controversial Strikes Bill which would protect Welsh workers’ rights from “antidemocratic” Henry VIII powers.
The ‘anti-strike bill’ will go through its Committee and Remaining Stages in the House of Commons today.
The bill as drafted includes a clause that allows the secretary of state in Westminster to amend or revoke Welsh legislation without the need for further primary legislation or even consultation with the Welsh Government, sometimes called Henry VIII powers.
Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader, Liz Saville Roberts MP, described the legislation as “anti-worker, antidemocratic and authoritarian” and urged all Welsh MPs to back her party’s amendments.
Plaid Cymru’s amendment would prevent the Secretary of State from being able to make consequential amendment to an Act or Measure of Senedd Cymru – meaning that the UK Government would have no right to interfere with Welsh workers’ rights protections.
A second Plaid Cymru amendment would require the UK Government to undertake an impact assessment on the effect of the legislation on industrial relations in Wales, with particular reference to the intended outcomes of the Social Partnership and Public Procurement (Wales) Bill currently debated in the Senedd.
The Bill “compromises” Wales’s Social Partnership Bill, according to Ms Saville Roberts, as it goes against its aim of placing duties on public bodies to seek consensus or compromise with trade unions.
She added that workers and wider Welsh society wanted a future where “workers are valued, not bullied by Westminster.”
Ahead of the debate, Liz Saville Roberts MP said: “Our society cannot function without the thousands of workers who run our hospitals, public transport systems, our schools, our courts. Sacking people for demanding fair pay and fair conditions for fair work is utterly counterproductive.
“Westminster’s anti-worker, anti-democratic and authoritarian bill goes against everything we stand for. It undermines the right to strike and compromises our legislation to protect rights in Wales.
“So called Henry VIII powers that give UK Government Ministers the powers to amend or revoke workers’ rights legislation on a whim, have no place in a modern democratic society.
“Plaid Cymru want to chart a different path where workers are empowered and valued, not bullied by Westminster.
“When the House of Commons debates Plaid Cymru’s amendments today, I urge all Welsh MPs to stand with us in protecting Welsh workers’ rights from these shameless attacks.”